Oxfordshire Wedding : Hannah & Damian : Part One

Whenever it’s apparent that a bride is unduly nervous on the morning of her wedding day I might, as appropriate, challenge her about her fears. Challenge is too strong a word perhaps, too strong a sentiment certainly. I confront… no, no that’s not the best synonym for such a context either. It wouldn’t be untrue to say I just ask. I am though trying to help her to challenge, to confront her fears. Still too strong a sentiment. I’m trying to provide a means to deflate the nervousness. I’m very much beholden to a process of documenting things as I see them, relating honest, heartfelt stories but I am there, I am real, a human being and I don’t like seeing people unduly distressed and especially so on a day on which happiness might normally be desired as a key central strand. It’s the Rumplestiltskin principle. Putting a name to our fears often gets us a long way towards dispelling those fears.

And it’s just about always something funny, something that can be laughed at once it’s been… confronted. The same thing applies to grooms as well; it is simply the case that I tend to spend more time documenting bridal preparations.

It’s just about always a fear of tripping over whilst going up the aisle.

Hannah wasn’t unduly nervous during the morning of her wedding day but my preamble comes to mind as she performed so admirably during her and Damian’s grand entrance to their wedding breakfast. In future I might just say to an especially nervous bride, “Don’t worry, you’ll be fine going up the aisle. You’ll probably trip up at some entirely unsuspected point elsewhere in the day instead.” Or maybe I’ll just keep taking photographs of things occurring.

In the relatively little time I’d had to spend in Hannah’s company, more so in the little time I’d had to speak with her properly, a couple of hours during her and Damian’s pre-wedding shoot (on a wedding day itself my clients will be more than busy enough conversing with all of their guests) I rapidly developed enormous respect for her. She helps make people’s lives easier, people whose lives are far harder than mine has ever been, one at a time. The personal traits that allow her to do this show through with clarity in more easy going social situations.

She takes a stumble spectacularly well too.

Damian I’ve known for a great deal longer. The subject line of his initial enquiry email (and all email correspondence between us subsequently) read, “Another ex-student!” I’m sure ‘another’ would have been italicised were it possible, in such a manner, to change the emphasis of text in an email subject line.

In some sense for me Hannah & Damian’s forms part of a chain of weddings that I’ve photographed. I’m particularly honoured to have done so. I’m proud to have been part of a team that has been involved in Damian’s education and that of his colleagues whose weddings I’ve also borne visual witness to. I’m proud of them for their achievements and aside from all that I like them. I like the people they’ve chosen to marry too. They’re valuable people.

I’ll have more to say regarding Damian’s achievements in due course but there’s a more immediate story I’m compelled to relate and let’s start that story by following the shoes…

I was intrigued by the choice of reading matter. “It was either that or Sainsbury’s Magazine,” said Hannah. I didn’t pursue the matter but as I continued about doing that which I do I couldn’t shake off the notion of Hannah having made an early morning run to the supermarket and whilst there, seeking out some reading material to take her mind off the fear of tripping up at some entirely unsuspected point in the day, perusing the magazine racks and debating to herself, “GQ or Sainsbury’s Magazine? GQ or Sainsbury’s Magazine?” That or there’d been a significant run on magazines and those were the only two copies of anything left on the shelves…

Later I spotted a copy of Sainsbury’s Magazine on a sideboard and realised that Hannah’s choice had rather more simply been limited to reading materials left in her hotel room. The hotel had after all been a “gentleman’s lodge” in the seventeenth century. I’ll get my coat.

Synchronised camera clocks and the synchronicity they reveal…

I’d always assumed that Damian’s hairstyle was the by-product of artistic nonchalance. Shows what I know about such things.

Uber-usher extraordinaire, and then some, Charlie. Yes, another former student. Charlie smiles, a lot. He appears, and smiles. It reminds you there’s much to be happy about in the world. A positive presence to have around. I was really impressed by how Charlie carried out his duties as a groomsman throughout the day. He really was an asset. Rather unexpectedly he seems to turn up in more of the images I’ve selected for this multi-part feature than even Hannah & Damian do. Maybe he has a good nose for the action. Maybe he’s just downright enigmatic. I don’t know. It seemed a strange balance of appearances on review but I left it all as it is as I trust my instincts. Either that or I was wary of getting lost in reliving the day over and over and over again, much as quite genuinely I’d love to. Anyway, Charlie, uber-usher…

More synchronicity…

Who had ordered the ten bottles of Bollinger and a cheese and pickle sandwich at 3.00am?..

Hannah’s Dad, Mike, hung out for much of the morning. Sometimes as all fathers do on such mornings, he wondered what to do but throughout he displayed a great empathy with proceedings. Simply put it was really nice having him around…

Hannah’s sister and bridesmaid, Jess. Jess is brilliant. Highly spirited and a fantastic help throughout the day. I’m going to be her wedding photographer too, it seems. I don’t believe any of the other constituent components for a marriage are in place yet but I’m ready to report for duty whenever the time comes…

Hannah’s Mum, Jill, a powerhouse in the background with fantastic taste in Asian silks to boot…

There’s a difference? I mean to say, there is a difference!..

And thence to Friars Court, Clarendon, Oxfordshire (we were but two minutes down the road to start with), home to Silver Pear Weddings

Friars Court provides a fantastic venue for an outdoor wedding. Keeping within the strictures of current laws on marriage in England and Wales (a timely tip of the hat to The Any Campaign), a permanent structure subtly embedded within a nice big bush allows for a predominantly full-on outdoor experience with the required legal niceties still just about conducted under a roof. Damian’s brother Oli served as his best man…

I love how Damian loses it here (and in so doing truly gets in touch with it)…

And it is done.

Congratulations Hannah & Damian! But there’s plenty more of the story still to come in Part Two >>

Contact Oxfordshire Wedding Photographer Phillip Allen : phill@misterphill.com : 07870 696248

Stuart James - You’ve got to love an outdoor ceremony! Beautiful!

james - The first image is a truly great moment captured and i really like your black/white processing. Your trademark shoe shot works a treat too.

Phillip Allen - Thanks Stuart and James :~)

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